Friday, July 13, 2018

Going Against the Grain

When you transform your eating habits from a standard American diet to a low carb, ketogenic diet, you are literally, and figuratively, going against the grain.

Literally speaking, a ketogenic (keto for short) way of eating you’re going against the grain because keto by its own nature is gluten free. There is no wheat, rye, oats, or barley in a keto diet therefore it is gluten free.

Because a keto diet often times recommends eating moderate-to-high amounts of saturated fats, you are, figuratively speaking, going against the grain. The reason is because for the past 50 or so years we have been told that eating fat is bad for your health. That it will cause weight gain, cause heart disease, and so forth. Instead we’ve been taught to eat heart healthy grains, like wheat and oats, because they are full of nutrition and fiber. We see this in the food pyramid, focused on grains and carbohydrates while limiting fats.

We’re now doing a 180 degree turn and are reverting back to the way our ancestors ate–eating whole foods. At first it seemed like it was going back and forth, which foods are healthy and which ones are not. Processed foods and fast foods, we know have always been unhealthy, but the confusion began when whole grain wheat bread was advertised as being a better choice than white bread. The same goes for white and wheat pasta, or white and brown rice. They all turn into sugar and insulin is secreted about the same rate. Same with organic versus non-organic; GMO versus non-GMO. Grains affect blood sugar about the same rate.

Grains, such as wheat, have inflammatory properties, particularly in the arteries. Damage to the arteries can lead to plaque formation. Plaque acts as a band-aid where inflammation has caused damage to an arterial site. Grains also produce histamine causing a greater chance of allergy symptoms. For people who are trying to lose weight, grains cause more insulin to be secreted and inhibit weight loss, and may promote weight gain.

Saturated fats on the other hand naturally contain anti-inflammatory properties, especially in the arteries. A good example of this is omega-3 fish oil. High doses of EPA fish oil may reduce inflammation in the arteries which could reduce plaque build-up.

There are theories as to why we’ve been told to eat grains and limit fats for the past half century. The important thing is that we know that low-carb, whole foods, such as meats, certain vegetables and fruits, and even animal fats, like butter and eggs, are the healthiest way to eat. It may take some adjusting to the concept that saturated fats are good and grains are bad, but you will enjoy this new way of eating tasty whole foods.

by John Connor, CNC

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